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Disney World's reservation system flooded as reopening dates sell out

Disney World and SeaWorld plan to reopen
Disney World and SeaWorld plan to reopen 02:12

Some of the people hoping to visit Walt Disney World when it reopens next month said the theme park's online reservation system had a not-so-magical debut this week. 

The Disney Park Pass System told some potential park goers that all reservations were booked until February 2021, according to complaints on social media Monday and Tuesday. The message prompted some frustrated customers to publicly gripe that the system had glitches that did not allow them to reserve a time to visit. 

The customers said they waited for hours to access the system and, by the time they were able to get in, found that some days and attractions were booked to capacity. When some users tried to book, they were met with a "Just a Moment" message that lingered on the screen while users were faced with a blank screen.

A Disney spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch the reservation system had been made available Monday first for people with a previous Disney World resort reservation. People who couldn't reserve Monday may have been trying to book before it was their turn. The system will be available for annual pass holders this Friday and for the general public on Sunday, the spokesperson said. 

Still, disappointed customers wasted no time venting on Twitter, saying Disney should have been more prepared for a flood of online traffic to its system after several months of pent-up demand from the coronavirus shutdown. Reserve tickets for Disney's resort in Shanghai, China, sold out three days before the facility reopened last month, for instance. 

"I have been trying for hours to make the park reservations via Disney Park Pass system," Twitter user Jim Gallo said. "It says everything is blocked off until February. What gives?"

Disney World has been closed since mid-March, along with Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and the parent Walt Disney Co. has been losing millions in revenue since the coronavirus pandemic forced their closures. The company hopes to reopen the first of several Disney World theme parks and attractions starting July 11, pending approval from state officials in Florida.

When the facility reopens to visitors, all guests and staff members will have their temperature checked upon entry. Character meet-and-greets, fireworks and parades will be limited. Some play areas will remain closed, and guests will be required to wear face masks except when eating. Disney said it will also reduce capacity at some attractions, restaurants and stores. 

The Disney Park Pass System allows a user to reserve tickets for a day at some of Disney World's most popular attractions, including Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Park goers can use the system to book visits as far out as September 2021. Passes to Hollywood Studios are already sold out for the first three days of the reopening, the Disney spokesperson confirmed. 

Disney will make more space available for annual pass holders and the public later this week, the Disney spokesperson said. Until then, the reservation system will show fully booked time slots for annual pass holders who try logging on before Friday, the spokesperson said. 

This story has been updated with comment from Disney and new information on its reservation system. 

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